Got a community suffering from urban decay? Bring in some artists and watch it turn around as they invest their sweat equity and creativity, transforming dilapidated industrial lofts into affordable combined living and workspace. It has worked for one big city after another, and now it’s happening in Kingston. The establishment of the Midtown Arts District in 2014 has added more fuel to a movement that has been gathering steam for a couple of decades now. The Uptown/Stockade and Rondout Districts are home to many working artists as well. Still, it will come as a surprise to many that Art Walk Kingston – now only in its second year – is already the largest artist studio tour in the Hudson River region, offering more opportunities to visit artists at work than similar tours in other communities that have been around for much longer.
The second annual Art Walk Kingston open studio weekend returns this Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24 from noon until 5 p.m. More than 70 artists are opening their doors to the public for the 2017 edition. New additions this year include the Kingston Pop Museum, Kingston Ceramics Studio, the woodworking studios and Vernacular Designs and Johnny Poux, Bali Steel Pan and an O+ Mural tour.
You can pick a neighborhood and do a walkabout, or hop on the Kingston Trolley, which will operate on the Art Walk route this year, to move between them. For a concentrated dose of artistic offerings in one location, try visiting the Lace Mill, whose residents are hosting poetry readings, performances and music all weekend long. And the staff artists at R & F Paints have put together an exhibition of their encaustic works at the factory.
Art Walk Kingston 2017 kicks off with a special preview at ARTBAR from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday, September 22. This public reception will give visitors an opportunity to see selections of works from a wide variety of artists participating in this year’s Art Walk. And a mini-festival of short films and live entertainment titled Celebrate Kingston will take place in Gallo Park on the Rondout waterfront from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Online and print maps are available to guide visitors to the studios and merchants open with Art Walk Kingston special offerings. For links and more info, visit www.facebook.com/artwalkkingston